A Texas teacher and her two assistants are being charged in connection with a punishment they handed out to a student last year that locked the five-year-old in an isolation room for so long that he began eating his own feces.
Melody LaPointe, 47, Tarah Tinney, 33, and Augusta Costlow, 27, were arrested earlier this month in connection with the incident — which took place last April at an unnamed school in the Liberty Independent School District.
They each face four charges of abandoning or endangering a child after isolating the student for hours without access to food.
Eventually, the youngster, who has special needs, became so starved that he began eating his own feces and drinking his urine, a lawsuit alleges.
What’s more, while locked in the room, the little boy fell and injured himself – but the three staff, the assailants, did nothing to help him.
According to a district spokesperson, the two aides, Tinney and Costlow, were placed on administrative leave last year during an internal investigation.
That investigation, officials said, saw them resign once the investigation was completed.
LaPointe, the head teacher in the class, also resigned, but was able to find work in another nearby school district, at Hopper Primary in Houston. She was arrested in November 17 on the school grounds, in full view of her students and colleagues.
Texas teacher Melody LaPointe, 47, was placed on furlough following the incident pending an internal investigation. She was able to find work as a teacher in a nearby neighborhood before she and her former assistants were arrested last week
Melody LaPointe, 47, Tarah Tinney, 33, and Augusta Costlow, 27, were arrested this month in connection with a sentence they handed out to a student last year that locked the five-year-old in an isolation room for so long that he passed out his own feces. started eating
Parents with students at Hopper Primary received the following email shortly after the students went home.
“In an effort to provide full transparency, we would like to inform our families of an incident that occurred yesterday during the layoff,” Goose Creek Consolidated Independent School District officials wrote.
“A teacher at Bonnie P. Hopper Primary School was arrested by Liberty County officers yesterday.”
In the notice, staffers noted that the incident that prompted the instructor’s arrest “took place in Liberty County and is in no way connected to Goose Creek CISD.”
Officials added that ‘the teacher is currently placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation’ conducted by local police.
The aides, meanwhile, were relieved of their posts in 2021, it has been revealed, along with their superior, who would at some point find work just a few miles away.
In the wake of last week’s arrests, Liberty Independent School District officials issued their own statement citing this fact, reiterating that the three were placed on unpaid leave immediately after the district learned of the incident.
The incident occurred last April at an unnamed school in the Liberty Independent School District. It is not yet clear at which of the nine schools the incident took place. Pictured is the county office in Liberty Texas
The warning, which was sent the same day as Liberty’s, read: “We have removed those teachers who continued to work for us from the classroom and conducted an extensive investigation.”
The letter did not specify which of the nine schools the incident occurred in 2021.
It turned out that after an internal investigation the district reported each of the educators to the State Board for Educator Certification and shared the results with law enforcement.
A police investigation was promptly launched, culminating in the arrests of the trio more than half a year later.
The three disgraced staffers are now accused of placing the boy in an isolation room within the unspecified Liberty Independent School District facility, which could each face up to four years in prison.
Meanwhile, parents demand answers why LaPointe was hired despite being the subject of such an investigation.
LaPointe, the head teacher in the class, was arrested Nov. 17 at Hopper Primary in Houston, where she had worked for the past several months. She was arrested on school grounds, in full view of her students and colleagues. Parents have since complained that she was hired
“I’m afraid to send my daughter to school,” said Amanda Henry, who has a 6-year-old daughter at Hopper Primary.
“You are supposed to send them there to be protected, and they hire this lady who apparently didn’t do extensive background checks and hurt a child, left this child locked in a room, his own excrement must be food and drink own urine.
She added, “It’s disturbing.”
All three women are booked in the Liberty County Jail. Their bonds are set at $60,000 each. A trial date has not yet been set.